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NATSO, ATA urge wearing masks at truck stops

Does President Trump’s pro-mask stance make the call easier for trade groups?

NATSO and the American Trucking Association urge wearing of masks at all travel plazas and truck stops, joining a growing list of retailers requiring face coverings. (Photo: TravelCenters of America)

NATSO and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) are urging all who pass through highway travel plazas and truck stops to wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

The call from the two groups tied to trucking followed an edict from Love’s Travel Centers earlier this week. The operator of 520 locations requires face coverings in beginning next Wednesday.

President Donald Trump is now encouraging the wearing of face coverings after ridiculing masks and declining to wear one in most public settings. His stance makes such calls easier for trade groups. They seek support for their policy efforts from both Republicans and Democrats.

Several states now require masks. Dozens of retailers, including 5,000 Walmart stores and CVS pharmacies, require masks be worn to enter their locations. McDonald’s joined the movement, on Friday. The fast-food giant will require masks at its 14,000 U.S. locations beginning in August.

Curtailing confusion

In a press release Friday, NATSO urged its members to require customers to wear face coverings or masks at all truckstops and travel plazas.

NATSO referenced guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It calls on all Americans to wear face masks to reduce the spread of the virus. The main target is people who do not have symptoms and or know they are infected. More than 4 million Americans have been infected during the pandemic and some 147,000 have died.

For professional drivers and travelers, requirements differ from place to place. That creates confusion. A mandatory mask policy prevents truck drivers from sorting out what is required as they cross state and local boundaries, NATSO said.

“In many parts of the country, we are seeing a growth in the number of cases, so we expect that more states, cities and counties will mandate masks,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “While we understand that there is disagreement about whether to mask, we are urging members to follow the advice of medical experts, including the CDC.”

Simple and effective

NATSO urges industry associations, including the ATA, to encourage all professional drivers to wear masks.

“Masking is the simplest and most effective way to defeat this virus. And ATA strongly encourages all fleets to adhere to mask requirements in private truckstops and public rest areas,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said.

The Department of Homeland Security declared truckstops and travel plazas essential businesses to help meet the needs of truckers delivering food and essential medical supplies throughout the country.

That is a “patriotic duty ” that will help get the U.S. economy moving, Mullings said.

Related stories:

Love’s travel stops to require masks starting July 29

Commentary: Trucking during a pandemic, a first-hand account

Cummins repurposing engine filtration material to make N95 masks

Click here for more stories by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.